Resources for planners and advocates on making public transportation accessible to people with disabilities
A man using a wheelchair exits a bus on a ramp with the help of a friend who pushes his wheelchair

A public bus with a ramp in the United States

Access to public transportation is one of the biggest issues for people with disabilities in our century. Without accessible transportation, many people with disabilities simply cannot get to school or the workplace, hindering their full participation in society. Accessibility features in public transportation benefit non-disabled people too. A few examples include:

  • A lift or ramp to board a bus can be helpful for people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices, elderly people who cannot climb stairs safely, or a parent pushing their child in a stroller
  • A reader board on a bus will provide access to spoken announcements for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, or for any passengers who missed the announcement when the bus is crowded and loud
  • Audio announcements of upcoming bus stops for people who have visual disabilities or for inexperienced travelers who need help identifying their stop
  • Curb-cuts make pedestrian pathways accessible for people using wheelchairs or other wheeled devices such as walkers, strollers, or rolling luggage

Access Exchange International (AEI) is a non-governmental organization located in the United States that is promoting accessible public transport for people with disabilities and seniors internationally. AEI promotes both accessible design of pedestrian infrastructure and transport systems and the accessible operation of such systems in a user-friendly and safe manner. The AEI website offers many helpful resources and tools including:

  • Guides for advocates and planners on achieving accessible transportation systems (we've highlighted two of their publications below)
  • An introductory photo tour of different access-features for passenger transport being used in Asia, the Americas, and Africa
  • A bi-annual newsletter provides the latest information on events and trends in accessible transportation from around the world
  • Links to other sources working to improve transportation systems

AEI Publications Available for Download Below

Note: Resources listed at the end of each publication may be outdated.

  • Mobility for All: Accessible Transportation Around the World. This introductory guide presents an overview of access to pedestrian infrastructure, bus, rail, door-to-door and other vehicles. Available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese below.
  • Making Access Happen: Promoting and Planning Transport for All. Intended for advocates and planners, this guide introduces the process of creating accessible transport, supplementing the material in Mobility for All. Available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese below.
  • Paratransit for mobility-impaired persons in developing regions: Starting up and scaling up. This guide is written for city officials, transit operators, entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social service agencies, and others in low-resource environments who may wish to start up or expand door-to-door paratransit services to help mobility-impaired persons to get to where they need to go. Available in English and Spanish below.

Visit the links below for additional resources.

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